How Meetup Saved My Social Life!

meetup

  How Meetup saved my social life!

Last summer on June 1, 2014, after thirteen years of living in San Jose California area I packed up my bags and moved to Oakland. I was so excited to explore my new town as well as adjacent towns Berkeley, Alameda, and San Francisco and settle into my new community. Well, this task was harder than I anticipated.

First, I constantly got lost trying to find my way to Trader Joe’s. I know, it sounds silly especially with availability of all maps on my phone, yet I still will end up on the bay bridge and in San Francisco instead of shopping center one exit before the bridge. This is one example of how technology is not always reliable!

 

Though, after a few weeks I was able to run errands without getting lost and accidentally in the fast track carpool lane receiving tickets in the mail! So now it was time to meet new people, make friends, find a gym, and get back to my old hobbies of hiking and swimming. This did not go as well as I expected. There were not that many gyms close to me with decent pricing that offered different classes and clean facility. The feeling of homesickness started to sink in. I missed playing volleyball down the street from me in San Jose, and go for a hike with my friends.

 

Baum_meetupJust like anyone who finds themselves lonely and without a clue as to what to do, I turned on the computer and asked Google how I make new friends?

After only 15 minutes, I stumbled upon Meetup, an online social networking gateway that facilitates offline group meetings. I suddenly found myself spending hours on it. I downloaded the app, laid in bed and started searching for groups that shared my interest all around me. Who would have through that getting together and making new friends was this easy!

find-meetup-optI was at first skeptical so started with meeting up with a small group of hikers. Let’s just say that was the beginning of exciting chapter in my life. There was no turning back. Thanks to Meetup, I now meetup with volleyball group in Alameda every Wednesday, dance the evening a way on Saturdays with my dance group, and go wine tasting once every two months with a few other wine connoisseurs.

 

Meetup not only saved my social life and allowed me to meet like-minded people with a click of a button, but also gave me the opportunity to join groups that I can learn new skills from. Besides, all of these cost me nothing! Meetup made challenging task of meeting new people not only possible but also effortless.

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5 thoughts on “How Meetup Saved My Social Life!

  1. Hi Sarah, you provide a clear explanation of how Meetup can help improve one’s social life. When I moved to college I found myself in the same situation you describe in your post, feeling home sick and thinking it was really hard to find someone with my same interests. This is actually the first time I am learning about Meetup, I wish I had learned about this before 😦

    I find this social media tool to be very helpful and I think is a great tool to help build a social network. I remember one of the courses I think it was Health and Social Behavior in which we discussed the importance of building social networks to improve health and we were presented with several research articles that showed how communities with good social networks are healthier than communities with not a lot of opportunities to build social networks.

  2. Nice post Sarah. The images were great and supported content and the whole things looked very visually balanced, Your first person perspective on the experience of using the tools was very effective. Sharing you vulnerability of being homesick made it all the more powerful and helps the reader identify with the experience.
    How do you think Meetup could be used most effectivey in health?

    • Hi Ruth,
      Thanks for your comment and thanks for your great question. Meet up can be a great sage way for people to get together to work on their health, such as physical activity events, like playing volleyball on the beach or free boot camp at parks. In addition to this, while I was browsing there were many other health related groups such as going vegetarian, losing weight, cooking classes. What I like about meet up is that it helps ones health through engaging them in a group setting. There has been many studies that suggest social support and group interaction can help behavioral changes. As public health professionals, we can tab into meetup and offer classes and groups that will provide education and support in our communities for our cause.

      • That’s a great suggestion. I had thought about Meetup as a meeting place for informal peer-to-peer sharing of medical health but not as a tool to set up in-person meeting for professional public health education. That has a lot of potential and as you say, social support is so important in maintaining behavioral changes. So in fact the tool would me a useful addition to perhaps other social media derived intervention or education programs.

  3. Dear Sarah,

    I think you are a brave soul in meeting new friends through social media. I don’t think I will ever do that or will ever feel comfortable to do that. From reading your post, it really sounds like you did find a group of like-minded individuals to share your hobbies with and to share your social life with. I think this is great! Perhaps, this is the power of social media/social networking.

    Your approach is very effective in a way that you are sharing your first-hand experience using Meetup, which so far has had a very positive outcome on your life. Your experience would definitely encourage some people to try this social networking tool so that they might find their groups of like-minded individuals, like you did, to share whatever they are passionate about in life. The goal is to improve the quality of life.

    Speaking of improving the quality of life, if social media/networking tools are used appropriately, they definitely can enhance someone’s resources tremendously, as this person now has a group of people who might share the same problem or might have the same motivation/passion to make their community a better place.

    Sincerely,
    Clipper Young

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